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Starting at OCAD U

First-year Art combines studio experimentation with thoughtful reflection on your own work and that of your peers, building connections and communities.

It is the bedrock for supporting the learning architecture of the upper levels. In First-Year Art, you will learn what OCAD U has to offer by engaging with our studios, programs and themes.

Drawing Across Disciplines and Form and Time are two required first-year courses that introduce the programs of study you will enter. Themes in the Faculty of Art that cross disciplines, such as sustainability and decolonization, are introduced with artistic approaches including experimentation, drawing, documentation and process work.

The Faculty of Art supports interdisciplinary studies. Students are welcome to take electives in the Faculty of Arts and Science - including the Digital Futures and Indigenous Visual Culture programs - as well as in the Faculty of Design.

Students accepted to the Faculty of Art will be admitted to the Drawing & Painting program, the Experimental Animation program, or to the general First-Year Art program. Students accepted to the First-Year Art program will select their major during their first year of study.


What to expect

OCAD University provides a student-centred learning environment where in first year a common base of art theory, knowledge skills and processes are acquired with an emphasis on concept development and investigation rather than specialization.

First year is a time for exploration and exposure to OCAD U's large community of practicing artists and designers. In addition, students benefit from the diversity of talent and wide experience of our faculty. Contacts and friendships established in first year last throughout a student’s years of study at the university and often carry into his/her involvement with the professional world after graduation. The first year of study in the Faculty of Art, combined with each student's developing creativity, commitment and passion for their practice, is important preparation for the advanced work and intense focus that students continue to encounter in their second, third and fourth years of study.

The studio curriculum for students entering the Faculty of Art consists of two required, full-credit courses (GART-1040: Drawing Across Disciplines and GART-1041: Form and Time) and two electives.

The elective courses are concept-driven and provide an opportunity to explore current issues in contemporary art through the lens of a specific discipline. Students are encouraged to investigate topics and areas in which they are unfamiliar, in order to cultivate lateral creative thinking skills and to discover program possibilities before they apply for their major.

Faculty of Arts & Science courses form an integral part of a student's studies. All incoming first-year students are required to complete two History and Theory of Visual Culture courses and one writing course. The Visual Studies courses consist of two-hour lectures and one-hour tutorials.

Choosing a Major in First Year Art

All First-Year general Art students will required to complete and submit a Major/Program Request form during their studies to the Office of the Registrar. Details about this process will be made available to students during their first year.
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